Thursday, October 30, 2008

Codex Sinaiticus Is Going Digital Soon

The rival to the Bible

By Roger Bolton

What is probably the oldest known Bible is being digitised, reuniting its scattered parts for the first time since its discovery 160 years ago. It is markedly different from its modern equivalent. What's left out?

The world's oldest surviving Bible is in bits.

For 1,500 years, the Codex Sinaiticus lay undisturbed in a Sinai monastery, until it was found - or stolen, as the monks say - in 1844 and split between Egypt, Russia, Germany and Britain.

Now these different parts are to be united online and, from next July, anyone, anywhere in the world with internet access will be able to view the complete text and read a translation.

For those who believe the Bible is the inerrant, unaltered word of God, there will be some very uncomfortable questions to answer. It shows there have been thousands of alterations to today's bible.

The Codex, probably the oldest Bible we have, also has books which are missing from the Authorised Version (King James Version) that most Christians are familiar with today - and it does not have crucial verses relating to the Resurrection.

(Read More: Here).

See also: “The Rival to the Bible?” Nice line but shame about the agenda…

Mainly, these sections from the above link:

But here are some observations from the article:

The title is nice, isn’t it? Has a nice ring and rhythm. It even rhymes, sort of. I bet the bod who thought it up was pretty pleased. I would be. But it’s a bit of an exaggeration, surely?
Then look at the statements at the end of the opening paragraph: It is markedly different from its modern equivalent. What’s left out? Well the article only touches on one or two things - nothing justifies use of the word ‘markedly’ in my opinion.
But take this: the thrust of the article. Roger Bolton writes: For those who believe the Bible is the inerrant, unaltered word of God, there will be some very uncomfortable questions to answer. It shows there have been thousands of alterations to today’s bible. Well, it’s true that there are many questions to answer about the Bible - i will certainly never exhaust them, and nor will the greatest scholars. And some are perhaps uncomfortable. But so what? It seems to me that the purpose of the article, far more than to inform about an exciting technological and academic development, is to make faithful traditional believers feel uncomfortable.


One reason that i like the NIV is that it has nothing to hide - so WHENEVER there are variants or textual issues, they are always explicitly mentioned in footnotes. As someone who read Classics at university (and had to read the whole of Homer’s Iliad in Greek), it is incredible how FEW footnotes there are for the NT, in huge contrast to other ancient texts. But the task of scholarship is always to hone our understandings of texts and original manuscripts. Which is why the making of the CODEX SINAITICUS online is such GREAT news - and why I’ve had a link from my resources bar on the right for months! I’m not embarrassed or concerned by this. It is a HUGE STORY.

But notice the implication of appealing to one scholar, Prof Bart Ehrman:

Mr Ehrman was a born again Bible-believing Evangelical until he read the original Greek texts and noticed some discrepancies. The Bible we now use can’t be the inerrant word of God, he says, since what we have are the sometimes mistaken words copied by fallible scribes.

Oh well - that’s OK then. Anyone else who is a born-again evangelical will now obviously read this article on BBC online and they will give up their faith too (beause presumably, most people do not have the ability to read ancient Greek texts). You’d have to be an idiot not to. But of course there are some people who are Christians who don’t believe all this ‘Bible is true’ rubbish - because as the last interviewee said, ‘the Bible is a living text’. Whatever that means. So if you have to be a Christian, at least take a more relaxed line.

All I have to say is no manuscript contradictions are great cause for concern, however that may be inerrancy of the bible is still an absurd position to take.

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